Transparency News, 9/16/2022



September 16, 2022

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today's stories & opinion


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When approving the minutes from last month’s regular South Hill Town Council meeting, Shep Moss stated it was his belief that in recent months the Council meetings have not been “fair, open, and transparent”. Moss was referring to last month’s Council meeting at which former Council member Ben Taylor called for an investigation into Moss’ actions, stating that he trespassed on Town property and removed Town documents from the burn site near the wastewater treatment plant; documents that the Town attorney called “trash” at the June Council meeting. The disposal process was called into question in June when photos of Town documents being burned began circulating. Concerns were raised about why the documents were being burned instead of shredded, why the proper destruction of public documents procedures were not being followed, and whether it was appropriate to destroy them while the Town is involved in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit with the Virginia Supreme Court.
South Hill Enterprise

The Virginia Board of Education agreed to license a controversial candidate for superintendent in Spotsylvania County with no experience in education — and a history of incendiary social media posts — clearing the way for him to assume the vacant position. A number of speakers called on the board to deny Mark Taylor entry to the state’s list of qualified superintendents, citing his lack of relevant experience and racially charged social media posts. A handful of speakers supported his candidacy, accusing those opposed to his appointment of political bias. In an interview with ABC-affiliate WJLA, Taylor told reporters that he didn’t make the posts — which were made over several months and interspersed with unrelated posts appearing to be from Taylor — and his account may have been hacked. “I don’t understand how someone attacks or accesses an account, I imagine it’s possible,” he told WJLA. One speaker at the board meeting derided that explanation. “Now he implies he was hacked, even though his posts are time-stamped and go back years,” said Rebecca Murray, a retired teacher of 20 years. “Too little, too late, too convenient.”

Though it cannot rival the celebrations each July 4 that commemorate ratification of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Sept. 17 — the date that delegates adopted the U.S. Constitution in 1787 — deserves a place of similar prominence. That document marked a turning point in the national experiment, replacing the dysfunctional Articles of Confederation and putting the country on a path toward a more representative and effective national system of government.
The Virginian-Pilot